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Five Things You Should Do Before Getting a Pet

I am a teacher by profession. My education and work experiences have been focused on development through learning and teaching.

My sweet furry Gaffy

My sweet furry Gaffy

1. Check for Allergies in the Household

Pets soon become a part of the family. Everyone would have to interact with it since it would be a permanent part of the household. However, there are many allergens that come from pets. Dander, or dead skin cells, saliva, sweat, urine, and the most obvious, fur, can cause allergies in humans.

It would be detrimental if you find out too late that even one of your family members has an allergy to your newcomer. Signs of allergy generally include sneezing, wheezing, difficulty in breathing, chest tightness and pain, or red patches on the skin among others.

It is better to know in advance by having concerned parties tested or doing test exposures with your desired pet to make sure that poor kitty or puppy will not need to relocate so shortly after you get it. I know this for a fact since I got an allergy that caused me to be hospitalized for three days after my cat gave birth to four kittens. Sadly, I had to let go of all of them in the end.

2. Guard Dog or Toy Dog? Be Aware of Why You Want a Pet

Although it would seem to many that the reason for getting a pet is not that important, I firmly believe that this should be a top priority in considering whether you should go through with buying one or not.

For example, you want a dog to guard the house. This means that the breeding, training, and housing needs of this dog would be totally different than if you want a dog for your toddler to play with.

According to Animal Planet, some of the best guard dogs include German shepherds, bullmastiffs, and boxers. Based on experience, I would probably include the Rottweiler. On the other hand, breeds that are good watchdogs, as well as cute toy dogs, would include the shitzu and poodle. There are, of course, other types of dogs, such as service dogs or hunting dogs.

3. Do Research

Before I get a pet, I always make sure I know what they need. I used to buy books about them but fortunately, we now have the internet, so getting information about the correct diet, housing, exercise, breeding, and others would just be a few clicks away.

Also, and this is something I learned the hard way, include in your research all the possible illnesses and accidents that your desired pet is susceptible to and make sure you have the essential remedies and first-aid measures. Make sure that you also pet-proof your area as best as you can, which includes checking if your potted plants can poison a curious pet who decides to take a nibble.

4. Make Sure You Have All the Necessary Resources

Pets, like kids, would require money and your time. Here are a few brief examples:

Cats and dogs would need several shots from the vet and vitamins among others for maintenance. They also need space—the bigger they are, the more space they need since different breeds need varying levels of exercise. Toys are also advisable, especially chew toys for puppies.

Fishes would need certain types of water. Depending on your schedule, you will also even require different accessories to clean the place where you put them. If you can't clean an aquarium that often, then you need to buy the kind that does not need much maintenance. Same as with dogs and cats, the size of an aquarium is also essential in order to have happy fishes who can "just keep swimming".

Rabbits are better kept in a cool, open, easy to clean place since they can get pretty smelly when their cages are not regularly cleaned and their fur can also cause allergies if they're in a confined space.

However, whatever your pet is, make sure you are ready to shower them with love since their temperament also depends much on the affection you give them.

5. Have a Plan in Case Things Don't Work Out

This would seem pretty strange but it is important to always expect the worst when you're planning for something grand- and getting a pet is a big move.

Here are some questions you must ask yourself before taking the leap:

  • Who'll take care of them in case you get sick or have a sudden emergency?
  • What can you do if you suddenly have to move and there won't be space for them?
  • What are the possible scenarios that would make having a pet a no-no?

As in most things in life, you should have a Plan B or an idea of what to do for such possibilities.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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Mary Grace (author) on September 12, 2020:

Thank you for your positive feedback, JC.

JC Scull on September 11, 2020:

Good advice. Thank you for sharing.

Mary Grace (author) on March 14, 2014:

That is good advice, independentminded. Thanks for leaving a comment.

independentminded on March 14, 2014:

It's agreed...getting a pet is a huge responsibility, but oh, the rewards are tremendous enough to make it worth it. I'm a big advocate of getting a good HEPA air-purifier if you get any kind of pet except for fish (Unlike furry, feathered or scaly pets, fish don't shed for obvious reasons.). Change the HEPA filter as often as necessary, and make sure you get a good vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, as well, and vacuum your house. at least once a day.

Mary Grace (author) on March 06, 2014:

Why not, jpcmc? :)

JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on March 06, 2014:

There are no pet day cares here in the Philippines. At least none that I know. I think that would be a good business for some communities.

Mary Grace (author) on March 06, 2014:

Hi jpcmc and georgescifo, it's true that having a pet is a huge responsibility and can be difficult. That's why it's important to consider many things before getting one. However, having one really does pay off in terms of the affection they can lavish and their use (e.g. guard dog) in most cases. You just need a back-up plan in case of trips. :)

georgescifo from India on March 05, 2014:

One of the major difficulty in raising a pet is that you cannot go anywhere leaving the pets behind for a day or more. The only option left is to carry the pets with you if you are out of your house for more than one days, but most of the time, it is not practical.

JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on March 05, 2014:

Having a pet is a huge responsibility regardless of the size or purpose you got it in the first place. The whole household should pitch in. However, some people are more fond of taking care of pets than others.

Mary Grace (author) on March 05, 2014:

Thanks for voting it up, Bk42author. I have had many different kinds of pets growing up and it just breaks my heart whenever I feel I didn't care for them as well as I should have, so now I make it a point to learn about their needs before getting one. Planning would make both owners and pets happier in the end.

Brenda Thornlow from New York on March 05, 2014:

Great info! I absolutely believe you should think long and hard and do research before getting a pet. Too many people don't do that and that is why animals get abandoned. Thank you for sharing. Voted up!

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